Sunday, 30 December 2007
Thursday, 27 December 2007
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
Sunday, 16 December 2007
ICT v Celtic - The "logic" of the Scottish football media: One wrong makes a wrong, two wrongs make a right
Having said that - a couple of important decisions went against Celtic today. I was watching the game on Setanta and was not surprised when Scott Booth managed to convince himself, but probably not the viewing public, that the award of a penalty to Caley Thistle was correct. I have noticed a recurring pattern in incidents such as this involving Celtic where an opposing player has fallen spectacularly in the Celtic penalty box. The first pictures in real time are inconclusive, but with each replay, the summariser and commentator manage to talk themselves into the opinion that the referee was correct and by the fifth replay they are highlighting the fact that a bead of sweat from the Celtic defender's brow brushed his opponent's shinpad.
The one breath of fresh air in this instance came in the shape of Frank McAvennie, who at half time came straight out and said it was never a penalty, despite Rob MacLean's pleas that there might have been the slightest of contact (as if this would merit a penalty award anyway) and the five replays shown to try to convince the rest of us. John Robertson squirmed awkwardly in his seat as, in the absence of Burley or Dodds to toe the party line with some fudge about the merest of contact, he had to admit that Celtic had been the victims of a refereeing mistake.
Now, in last week's post I said that the Scottish media have a compulsion to apply negative spin to almost any situation regarding Celtic and today was a prime example of this.
Consider the key decisions in the match -
- Penalty awarded to ICT - Incorrect: Celtic disadvantaged
- Celtic goal disallowed@ 2-2 - Incorrect: Celtic disadvantaged
- Proctor of ICT sent off for last man foul - Correct no advantage/disadvantage
Given the circumstances outlined above any sensible person might assume that a significant part of the post match analysis would have centered around these events and the adverse effect they had on Celtic's efforts to win the game.
Well, any sensible person would be wrong. Instead Setanta's motley crew of Rob, Robbo and Steve Lovell (in his post match interview with Craig Brewster), chose bizarrely to harp on about the fact that Steven Pressley was not sent off after the award of the penalty, even though all three acknowledged that the penalty should never have been given in the first place.
Yes in a classic example of Scottish football's Orwellian media doublethink, our much reveered pundits managed to somehow turn a situation in which Celtic had been severely disadvantaged by the referee, into one where he had somehow done us a massive favour! Robertson was even moved to comment - "This is the kind of situation that fuels conspiracy theories of bias in favour of the Old Firm".
On an aside, this reference to this ever elusive entity "The Old Firm", reminded me of the unpleasant experience of watching Sportscene's results programme at Saturday tea time. Not only was there the disappointment of the creamers scoring a jammy late winner, but I was almost put off my dinner (no mean feat) by having to listen to Cosgrove and Nevin debating whether the decision to allow Rangers' request postpone their leage fixture against Gretna was another example of bias towards the Old Firm.
Do you think the SPL would grant Celtic a postponement of all of our league games till Febraury by which time Naka will be back and we might have bought a few good defenders [crosses fingers and toes]?
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Was the Daily Record actually disappointed that Celtic qualified for the 2nd phase of the Champions League?
One is taken from Scotland's best selling tabloid, the Daily Record, and the other from the ENGLISH edition of the Sun newspaper (via their website). You would not be labelled completely paranoid if you thought the Scottish publication might look a wee bit more favourably on Celtic's success (yes we have to remind ourselves that it was indeed a success) and even embellish the occassion with a smattering of positive spin.
After all we've just spent the last week or so listening to a Scottish media spin machine espousing the virtue of allowing a small, hard pressed and impoverished Glasgow club postpone their league fixture against high flying Gretna this weekend, so that they may gird their loins and take up their cudgels at full strength and do battle against the European foe under the banner of the St. Andrews flag. This is in all our interests we are told.
I would ask you also to consider and compare the mild hysteria that followed the best ever 0-0 draw in the history of European football at Ibrox a few weeks back and also the almost as impressive 0-2 victory in the Nou Camp. 180 minutes without scoring a goal and we are led to believe this mob are a European force.
Anyway with all that in mind, can you guess which of these articles was published by the Scottish tabloid and which by the English? (I've alternated a paragraph from each throughout for easier comparison)
"KAKA was handed the glittering Ballon D’Or and Pippo Inzaghi broke the all-time Euro goal record. But Celtic grabbed the golden ticket to the last 16 of the Champions League on a glory night in the San Siro."
"GORDON STRACHAN saw Celtic stagger into the last 16 of the Champions League last night despite defeat in Italy - then admitted his side must cure the travel sickness which follows them around Europe. It might have been the kind of contest that would get the Champions League stopped. It may have been another away defeat, the 15th in 16 attempts to be exact. And it may also have been inflicted upon them by an AC Milan side that spent much of the night doing little more than going through the motions"
"Brazilian superstar Kaka was rightly acclaimed by home fans as the best footballer on the planet. Inzaghi, whose two goals won last season’s Champions League final, then bagged the only goal. But if the Milan aces deserve praise and prizes, there’s no doubt Celtic also merit their place among Europe’s elite"
"Milan, who had already booked their place in the knock-out stages with a game to spare, were able to rest more than half a team and were also able to operate without even the slightest anxiety. There will be time to pause and reflect on the fact they were undone by a patchwork and less than committed Milan side and to ponder on just how much work Strachan still has to do to make this team capable of cutting it against the game's greatest sides.[Does beating them 2-1 not count as "cutting it"???]"
"One glorious qualification from the group phase by Gordon Strachan’s heroes is commendable. But to repeat the feat in back-to-back seasons is without question one of the club’s greatest achievements of the modern era. The defeat to Kaka and Co didn’t matter as Benfica scored an unlikely win away to Shakhtar Donetsk. For the second successive year, three home wins at Fortress Parkhead have carried Strachan’s stars beyond the group phase. They didn’t get the away point they thought they’d need. They didn’t get a first ever win away from Parkhead."
Gordon Strachan and his players could not finish the job themselves and now go on from Group D only because of Benfica's win in Donetsk. [nothing to do with home wins over the European champions AC Milan, Benfica and Shaktar Donetsk of course, Celtic were the benefactors of a benevolent act of charity] But Scotland's champions are through to the last 16 for the second successive season regardless and that is one almighty achievement. [shock stunner, positive comment after only the 230 words!]
"But not one of the Celts — and not a single soul among the 5,000 away fans in the San Siro — seemed to mind. The Champions League theme tune will echo around all corners of Parkhead again in the New Year. And Strachan, the little man whose reputation grows with every passing Euro achievement, will want to drive them even further. The gaffer has already insisted there are “no limits” to where his young side can go in this tourney. They certainly will enter the last 16 without a hint of fear, even if they will be without Scott Brown."
"The reaction of the travelling army said it all. They nervously counted down the clock behind Artur Boruc after Filippo Inzaghi's goal had put Milan in front and made their team's plight too perilous for comfort. There was a lack of interest from the locals who arrived at the San Siro in dribs and drabs until it was, at best, half full. And when they took their seats they found that Carlo Ancelotti had opted to drop an entire defence, a keeper and a striker. Yes, for the Italians at least, it was that kind of night. Low key and all a bit of a fuss about nothing. For Celtic and their followers, however, it seldom gets any bigger."
"Brown blazed wastefully across the face of goal on 56 minutes after a long ball from McManus. The midfield terrier must sit out the first leg after a rash booking for a foul on Clarence Seedorf. But that and Inzaghi’s 70th-minute winner were the only dark clouds on the night for Celts. Cafu surged to the bye-line and cut the ball back for a trademark tap-in inside the six-yard box. It was tough on Celtic after they had summoned up every ounce of desire, determination and drive. Aiden McGeady almost levelled inside a couple of minutes as Kalac clutched his free kick under the bar after he’d been floored by Massimo Ambrosini."
"Every now and then, when they could be bothered, Milan would work their way into a dangerous position but these were fleeting, almost half-hearted attacks. It was only when captain Stephen McManus and little menace Scott Brown [Interesting use of adjective there. Presumably this is in contrast to the silky Barry, Charlie Adam and Lee McCulloch] and demanded their attention that they finally began to focus on the job in hand. Incredibly, Celtic cut Milan open with a single punt from McManus that dropped deep inside Milan's half. Brown was clean through but his sliced shot travelled so wide that it came close to going out for a throw-in. [Obviously if Davie Weir had made the same pass this would be described as a majestic piece of play worthy of Beckenbauer]
"After another display of his individual brilliance, the samba star probably felt he deserved a goal. Kaka had grabbed the prize and Inzaghi earned the praise. But the glory all belonged to Celtic."
"Suddenly Celtic were behind and reduced to praying for Benfica to stay strong. To their great delight, those prayers were answered and Celtic could celebrate."
Yes, Celtic were reduced to begging for help from other teams. So to speak.
Monday, 19 November 2007
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Sunday, 11 November 2007
Sunday, 4 November 2007
The Sun, Daily Record and STV held in contempt of court over Riordan case
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Monday, 29 October 2007
Sunday, 21 October 2007
Chic Young, that well-known St. Mirren fan (cough!), had a lot to say after Celtic and Rangers' last outings in the Champions League.
It would be interesting if someone was to do "an Allan McDonald" and hire a psychologist to assess the psyche of the author. As this is sadly not available, I myself have carried this out in my capacity as enthusiastic amateur shrink.
No doubt you are aware of the context - recent revival of the Scottish national team, Celtic have just defeated the current European Champions, Rangers (whilst not facing opposition of the same calibre) won against strong opposition away from home but by a greater margin.
Chic Young used his column on BBC website to laud these achievements. I think it makes interesting reading, particularly the excerpts I have selected below. Now remember, we are constantly fed the mantra that the "Old Firm" (hate that term) dominate Scottish media coverage in equal measure.
On Celtic's result -
"Here was a team who toiled for another result that piled higher still this country's towering reputation.
They shrugged off a ludicrous penalty decision that made you wonder if the Mafia were now in the business of delivering horses' heads to the pillows of referees.
They beat the champions of Europe fair and square and kept a remarkable dream alive - that of Scotland flourishing at the highest level of club and country football. "
And on Rangers -
"Lyon, the champions of France, 0 - Rangers, the second best team in Scotland, 3.
Astonishing. Remarkable. Breathtaking. You choose the adjective. They all fit.
It was fantasy football and I had a recurring scary thought in the back of my mind as I commentated on the match for BBC Scotland that I was actually making it all up, that I was hallucinating.
But there in the corners of the Stade Gerland were my comfort blankets, the huge electronic scoreboards that confirmed that, indeed, we were witnessing the carving up of a quality French side by a Scottish team on their side of the Channel, the likes of which hasn't been seen for, well, three weeks actually.
Rangers were awesome. I will not have it that they merely humbled an ordinary team, although, in the end, that is exactly what Lyon looked like.
They looked tortured souls, ripped asunder by the energy and rhythm, the fitness and drive, the shrewd tactics and management technique of Walter Smith and his swaggering stars."
I would venture to say... (now remember I am a card carrying paranoic!) that the author is ever so slightly more excited over one result than the other. Can you work out which one?
My amateur shrink analysis:
Celtic are praised for winning, credited with "toil" and the fact they "shrugged off" adversity. Metaphorically this is a wee patronising pat on the head. The author is someone who is happy to see Celtic win in an "it's good that the Scottish team won, as it helps all the other Scottish teams in Europe" manner.
Rangers, on the other hand, are showered with superlatives that give the impression that they are a team of gazelle like super athletes bonded together by a mastermind coach possessing the intellect of some sort of Einstein/Stephen Hawking hybrid. This is someone clearly overjoyed at some occurrence that is very close to his heart. He even lapses into a pre-emptive defence of anyone who dares to question the sanctity of this win - "I will not have it that they merely humbled an ordinary team...". A cursory glance at the match statistics would quickly lampoon the contention that "it was fantasy football", "Rangers were awesome" or Lyon were"ripped asunder by the energy and rhythmn, the fitness the drive blah blah". Unquestionably the author has a partisan view of this result.
I rest my case your honour.
I suppose I could've saved myself a lot of typing and just said "Chic Young is a hun". Would you have argued??
The main differences are technical (the new templates use CSS) so the blog doesn't actually look much different - but we have lost our customisations (such as the clock and page counter). We can put these back over the coming days and weeks.
The page counter was approaching 4,000 (3,944 to be precise) so it seemed a good time to upgrade the blog.
Why wee Gordon plays with a single striker when an Erskine over-50 XI would put a couple past our defence is beyond me. Our only chance on Wednesday is to win 9-8.
We do manage to win most of our SPL away games, thanks to the quality of the opposition. But against decent teams (i.e. Europe) we get found out. It's not for nothing that our European away record ranks alongside St Mirren's.
Yet, we are a force at Parkhead. Capable of competing with any team in the world. So, I say, that we, the supporters, are Celtic's best player and I demand a refund on my season ticket, a four year contract and £80,000 per week (shared between 55,000 other supporters).
Friday, 19 October 2007
What was the cause of the accident?Fitting a Mercedes with parts from a second-hand 1961 Princess.
What would Diana be doing now if she were still alive?Trying to scrabble out of her coffin…that's why they put land mines round it.
Yesterday a ferryboat leaving Haiti capsized and drowned three hundred people. Fortunately a tragedy was avoided when it was discovered that none of them was a princess.
Diana, Queen of Hearts? More like off with her head.
Today we can all memorialise the sainted Mother Theresa and the beloved Princess Diana by eating curry and then sticking our fingers down our throats.
Who was Diana's favourite companion?A full-length mirror.
What is the difference between Diana and Honecker [the last ruler of the old communist East Germany). Honecker survived the wall.
Did the British secret service kill Diana?No, the French underground did.
What is the difference between those who don't like Diana jokes and a puppy?Eventually a puppy will stop whining.
Sunday, 14 October 2007
I thought it would be worth posting the following extract from Peter Burns and Pat Woods book "Oh, Hampden in the Sun" which details the great event and includes anecdotes from fans.
Paul Cantley (now resident in London) relates a moving family tale which centred around the events of 19 October 1957:
The story commences with the arrival of my eldest sister Anne in March 1957, the first-born of Jim and Norma Cantley. Naturally, they were elated at this and planned a future for their new family. Ten days later, however, their whole life was turned upside-down when Anne suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and was committed to hospital. The distress and the ordeal, with such a young infant, of the will she/won’t she recover scenario, thinking about what caused the haemorrhage and could there be a repetition? – it was unbearable to think about. So the summer months of 1957 were a long and painful struggle for my parents, the guilt never too far from their collective conscience, as to whether there was anything they could have done to avoid what had happened. It was only to get worse. In September 1957, after months of examination, the news was broken to my parents that their daughter had been diagnosed as suffering from hydrocephalus (i.e. water on the brain). She was permanently and severely brain damaged and would never progress mentally. Physically, her life expectancy was put at no better than five years.
Naturally, the strain had taken its toll on my parents’ life, marriage, their religious beliefs – everything! They questioned whether they would risk having any more children, with the possibility, however much dismissed by the medical profession, of a recurrence. Life was not worth living and my father, who was a fanatical Celtic/football man, quite naturally, had somewhat lost his appetite for the game.
It was my mother who convinced him to go to Hampden that October day – she said he would regret not going if they won – although I think Rangers were firm favourites for the final. She said he left for the game enduring a complex of emotions – a 25 year old going to see his team in a cup final against their greatest rivals versus the guilt of not staying at home in his family’s hour of need. The match details are well documented elsewhere and I won’t dwell on them here except to say that it was the most exceptional scoreline that is ever likely to occur in the history of this fixture.
After the game, Mum opened the door to Dad (who’d come straight home, being a teetotaller!) and said that he had a grin from ear to ear – the first she had seen in months. Although they had spent the previous six and a half months in a living nightmare, they knew at that defining moment that there was life and joy beyond their misery, and that everything, although not perfect, was not as bleak as they had imagined before. “The ways of the Lord are mysterious, but wise!”
The outcome was a rethink on the children front. My eldest brother was born in July 1958 (work it out if you have to!), the second of what were to be seven children (I’m number five) in the next ten years.
The rest? Anne never did recover and was institutionalised from the age of five, unable to communicate with the outside world, but she did live to the ripe old age of 27. Dad, my inspiration, passed away in 1989, after a stroke. My last cup final with him was the “Centenary” cup final in 1988 – a day our family will never forget and one which we constantly hark back to with fond memories.
I suppose you could say that the League Cup final victory of 1957 had a profound effect on all those who witnessed it for a variety of reasons. Life, such as the tragedy of Dunblane, is a great leveller in putting sporting rivalry such as the Old Firm’s into perspective. But the opposite, as in this instance, can also be true…
So to Big John, happy 50th anniversary on your conception!
It would be nice to get a repeat score on Saturday but things like that don't happen. Do they?
Wednesday, 10 October 2007
Sunday, 7 October 2007
Thursday, 4 October 2007
Thursday, 30 August 2007
Saturday, 25 August 2007
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
Saturday, 18 August 2007
Thursday, 16 August 2007
My public page is here so add me as a friend if you want to use it to keep in touch. You might also want to join the Facebook Celtic Supporters Club and install the iLike (for music), Flixter Movies (for movies) and Premier League Picks applications.
Thursday, 2 August 2007
I'm not sure I agree. I've been watching Celtic steadily decline since last March and I'm not convinced that the poor form was simply a case of Celtic cruising to the title. If it was, I'm not convinced that they can simply take their foot off the break and step up a gear come Sunday. Right now, we have a shaky defence and a mis-firing forward line.
We have a whole bunch of "quality" (and highly paid) players simply not performing. Some never have (Virgo, Jarosik), some are hot and cold (Gravesen, Hesselink) and some are simply picking up their pay cheques (Balde, Zurawski). The best player in pre-season has been McGeady, and Brown stood out like a sore thumb on Sunday supposedly surrounded by "top quality" international players.
The signs are not good.
Saturday, 28 July 2007
Monday, 23 July 2007
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
Sunday, 15 July 2007
Monday, 2 July 2007
Sunday, 1 July 2007
The questions were described as "basic" but weren't so I wasn't surprised that so few people got them entirely correct (since when is the Second Law of Thermodynamics considered basic?) - although some of the answers ("The sky is blue because the sea reflects on it") were amusing.
The problem is that the questions could have been much more basic (How many planets in the Solar System?) and I suspect most people would still have got them wrong.
Sunday, 24 June 2007
Saturday, 16 June 2007
Friday, 15 June 2007
I thought it was gripping and at the end I felt a bit stunned. Meadows handles menacing violence really well. I had watched Room for Romeo Brass on the previous Friday and was amazed at the difference in Paddy Considine from Dead Man's Shoes. I've now watched that a couple of times on TV. I think it is a film you could watch 100 times or even watch bits of it over again. It is fascinating yet very ugly. I didn't think This is England had the humour although the bits with the skinheads walking down the street reminded me of Reservoir Dogs or a M&S advert.
I was a bit non plussed by the story in Room for Romeo Brass maybe it was on too late for me. But I wonder why Meadows uses relationships between "powerful" dangerous violent adults and vulnerable lonely children. It makes for very uncomfortable watching. His stories are certainly off beat. I also watched recently The Wind that Shakes the Barley. It reminded me of those TV plays Days of Hope etc with smoke filled rooms where politics was a really serious matter for people. I did like the film but it didn't hit me like This is England. Thanks for putting Meadows on the blog, Billy. Do you know what Paddy Considine is working on?
Thursday, 14 June 2007
Monday, 4 June 2007
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Thursday, 31 May 2007
Monday, 28 May 2007
Pity about the game. But we won the double and that shouldn't be sniffed at. After the game we went to The Last Post in Paisley (almost exactly three years to the day after this blog was first conceived) and discussed the changes that Celtic need to make for next season. There was a consensus that we need to make plenty. I think Strachan knows that too and I'm expecting several new faces for the start of next season - including one or two quality players (in addition to Brown). Interestingly, everyone supported Strachan in spite of a growing discontent with the way the team is playing.
I should have mentioned something about the Celtic Paranoia blog. It's ran by a colleague of mine who specialises in spotting double standards in the media. Tony has an encyclopedic knowledge of Celtic and the media (and is a talented writer). He is currently back-filling the blog from old posts on a mailing list that he ran - but he promised to get up-to-date soon. When he's finished it should be a great resource to check media stories.
Its HBO's "The Wire" which is the best TV to come out of the USA.
The show is shown on Digital FX but I never watch it on TV, I always watch the DVD box sets.
This is Series 1 (I also have Series 2 and 3 on DVD).
Check it out if you can.
Thursday, 19 April 2007
Wednesday, 4 April 2007
Friday, 9 March 2007
I was watching Celtic TV last night and they were interviewing some people coming back from the game. One of these was Steven Doyle. It took me a bit before I recognised him. He gave his view of the game O'Dea was the best player, McManus also brilliant and Lennon a real captain's game. Came over as reasonably articulate. He let himself down somewhat when asked what he thought of Milan itself.
"Shithole" he replied.
Thursday, 22 February 2007
Wednesday, 21 February 2007
Monday, 19 February 2007
I'm expecting another game where Celtic look second best but as the game approaches I can't lose this feeling that we are going to win. I stopped doing the lottery as each Saturday I always expected to win. I knew it was a stupid feeling but the only way to stop it was not to buy a ticket.
Celtic will always have a chance with Nakamura and JVOH. Nakamura is world class at free kicks and his all round play is brilliant. JVOH also looks different class and I think he was a steal for the money we paid. The problem again will be defending. But you can't rule out 2-0.
Tuesday, 23 January 2007
Sunday, 21 January 2007
I've also read the book, which is very good and has none of the Hollywood smaltz.
Friday, 19 January 2007
Worth checking out for his ecological insight.
We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. . . We must recover the sense of the majesty of the creation and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it."
"What I stand for is what I stand on."
"Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy."
"Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts."
"Eating is an agricultural act."
"Every day do something that won't compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing...Love someone who doesn't deserve it...Plant sequoias...Practice resurrection."
"There is no sense and no sanity in objecting to the desecration of the American flag when we tolerate, encourage, and as a daily business promote the desecration of the Country for which it stands."
"The line that connects the bombing of civilian populations to the mountain removed by strip mining ... to the tortured prisoner seems to run pretty straight. We're living, it seems, in the culmination of a long warfare -- warfare against human beings, other creatures and the Earth itself."
"Once plants and animals were raised together on the same farm - which therefore neither produced unmanageable surpluses of manure, to be wasted and to pollute the water supply, nor depended on such quantities of commercial fertilizer. The genius of America farm experts is very well demonstrated here: they can take a solution and divide it neatly into two problems."
"It maybe when we no longer know what to do, We have come to our real work, And that when we no longer know which way to go, We have begun our real journey."
"Denounce the Government, Embrace the flag"
"To be sane in a mad time is bad for the body, worse for the soul"
"Cheap at any price"